Janine Gilbertson's Granite Kitchen: A new year of more wholesome eating

By JANINE GILBERTSON January 02. 2018 9:29PM
Organic fire-roasted tomatoes and leftover turkey are the critical ingredients in this easy soup. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

I was driving home late on one of these recent frigid nights, admiring the way the bright moonlight made the thin, fresh coating of snow sparkle like diamonds, and thinking about how difficult it must have been for people to survive cold winters without the modern conveniences of living in a house with heat and hot water.

It had to be brutal.

I’m sure there was plenty of soup to warm them on cold nights, soup made with root vegetables or whatever was put up for the winter. When I got home that night, I scanned the fridge to see what there was for making soup.

Luckily, there was some leftover turkey from a holiday gathering that needed to be put to good use, and some cans of organic fire roasted tomatoes in the pantry. (I’ve started buying organic canned tomatoes after realizing the significant difference in the amount of sodium in regular canned tomatoes versus organic.)

A few carrots, onion and some seasoning rounded things out, and when the soup was done, I served it over some leftover rice with fresh cilantro. It was a nourishing and delicious choice for such a cold night.

Since it was close to New Year’s, I considered making a resolution and decided to focus this year on eating as clean as possible. This involves staying away from processed food (I do this already, but there’s always room for improvement), buying organic when I can, and eating foods made from the simplest ingredients possible. Oh, and let’s not forget about cutting back on sugar and sweets.

You’d be surprised the things you find on food labels if you are not in the habit of choosing your food based on the ingredients. Take salad dressing for example. Dressing is such an easy thing to make, yet I have at least a dozen store-bought bottles kicking around in the fridge and pantry. If you can make it fresh, it’s much better for you.

Managing a sweet tooth can be a little challenging, but I’m determined. When bananas get too ripe to peel and eat in our house, I peel them and stick them in the freezer until I have a chance to use them in banana bread or some other dish. 

I tried them mixed with peanut butter and a little flour and sugar and it made a delicious, chewy and healthy cookie. Even my boys loved them; they made them disappear like melting snow.

Turkey Tomato Soup with Cilantro and Rice

28 oz can fire roasted chopped tomatoes

4 cups turkey meat, shredded (you can also use chicken)

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 cups frozen corn

2 tbsp butter

Juice from a fresh lime

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups Jasmine white rice, cooked

1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Additional lime wedges, if desired, for serving

Add the butter to a large stockpot and set over medium high heat. When butter has melted, add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until the vegetables have softened, then add the tomatoes. 

Using the empty tomato can, add two cans of water to the vegetables and tomatoes. Stir in the turkey, corn, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. 

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Place a scoop of rice in a bowl and ladle the soup over the rice, then garnish with cilantro. 

Add a lime wedge for serving, if desired, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Banana peanut butter cookies are a simple and wholesome treat for the sweet tooth. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Peanut Banana Cookies

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3 tbsp peanut butter

1/2 tsp vanilla 

1/2 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp coarse sugar

2 tbsp old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350. 

Add the bananas, peanut butter and vanilla to a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and sugar and mix. 

Add the flour mixture to the banana and peanut butter mix and stir well to combine, then fold in the oats. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the cookie mixture by the tablespoonful onto the sheet, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies start to turn a light golden brown. 

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
This watercress and red pepper salad sports a homemade honey mustard dressing. (JANINE GILBERTSON)

Watercress and Red Pepper Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing 

1 bunch fresh watercress

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup seedless cucumber, sliced

1/4 cup sliced almonds

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

Add the watercress, bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, and almonds to a salad bowl and toss. 

In a small, sealable container, add the vinegar, mustard, honey, olive oil and salt. Close tightly and shake well to mix. 

Drizzle over salad before serving.


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